Scores On Screen. Electronica Victoriana: The Soundtrack of "The Innocents"

  • MUBI
Even 56 years after its original release, Jack Clayton’s 1961 gothic horror film The Innocents has lost none of its ability to disturb. Based on Henry James’ Victorian novella The Turn of the Screw, the film is shot in black and white in CinemaScope (a rare pairing of the two), its wide aspect ratio manipulated through the use of eerie lighting by cinematographer Freddie Francis. The film’s striking imagery is visceral, unsettling and hard to forget, but isn’t the only determinant in the tense atmosphere established within the film. The Innocents innovative soundtrack and sound design is responsible for much of the film’s creepy mood and it is showcased from the film’s very first frame.The Innocents opens with a completely blackened screen, a canvas of nothingness from which the sweet singing of a disembodied little girl suddenly emerges. Her gentle voice is heavily reverbed and amplified
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How Much Shock Can You Stand?

Ghosts are famous for their flexibility, spiraling through keyholes and up from the floorboards in search of their next mark. But movies about ghosts can be flexible too. Three classics of the genre, The Uninvited, House on Haunted Hill and The Innocents, demonstrate that there’s more than one way haunt a house.

These films never appeared on any triple bill that I know of, but I’d like to think they did, somewhere in some small town with a theater manager that knew a good scare when he saw it. How could the programmer resist it? Each film is united by a beautiful black and white sheen, eerie locales and their ability to scare the bejeezus out of you. But they’re also alike in their differences, coming at their specters from distinctly different vantage points.

1944’s The Uninvited, a three-hankie haunted house tale with a dysfunctional family subplot,
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The Sound of Fear: 17 Creepy Choral Horror Soundtracks

Benjamin Wallfisch’s brilliantly sinister It score turns the human voice inside out – and it’s not the only one…

The world’s most terrifying clown Pennywise is back to stalk our nightmares in the new adaptation of It, on release now. Bill Skarsgard takes over from Tim Curry as the dreaded Stephen King creation and director Andy Muschietti’s movie has been praised for mixing genuine terror with Stand By Me levels of pathos.

It also marks the latest in a series of increasingly impressive chiller scores by British composer Benjamin Wallfisch. Having charged the likes of Lights Out, A Cure for Wellness and the recent Annabelle: Creation with a potent sense of musical fear, Wallfisch now scares the pants off us with his impressively creepy It soundtrack.

Sitting alongside some truly beautiful and tender material for our pre-teen heroes the Losers’ Club is an ear-shattering array of discordant horror techniques.
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The Beauty of Jean Cocteau’s ‘La Belle et la Bête’

Forget Disney’s recent reiteration of the classic fairy tale and instead look back at where the tale’s magic began on film, with Jean Cocteau.

The self-titled Belle and her captor-turned-prince Beast have returned to cinema screens around the world. In Disney’s latest live-action reiteration of one of their much-loved animated fairytales, Bill Condon’s live-action Beauty and the Beast has reintroduced contemporary audiences to the pair. With their return has come explorations of Disney’s representations of gayness, the question of modern viewing habits, and record-breaking box office success (the film has broken the March record for best opening with a $175m domestic gross).

This multiplicity of films on the same tale has been seen before, with the reintroduction of Snow White in 2012 arriving in the form of three very different films. 2012 brought the strong and defiant rebel ‘Snow’ in Snow White and the Huntsman, while Mirror Mirror restyled the classic tale. Pablo Berger
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200 Greatest Horror Films (20-11)

20. The Innocents

Directed by Jack Clayton

Written by William Archibald and Truman Capote

UK, 1961

Genre: Hauntings

The Innocents, which was co-written by Truman Capote, is the first of many screen adaptations of The Turn of the Screw. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t feel bad because most people haven’t – but The Innocents deserves its rightful spot on any list of great horror films. Here is one of the few films where the ghost story takes place mostly in daylight, and the lush photography, which earned cinematographer Freddie Francis one of his two Oscar wins, is simply stunning. Meanwhile, director Jack Clayton and Francis made great use of long, steady shots, which suggest corruption is lurking everywhere inside the grand estate. The Innocents also features three amazing performances; the first two come courtesy of child actors Pamela Franklin (The Legend of Hell House), and Martin Stephens (Village of the Damned
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Classic French Film Festival Begins March 13th in St. Louis

Qui aime les films français ?

If you do and you live in St. Louis, you’re in luck! The Seventh Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival — co-presented by Cinema St. Louis and the Webster University Film Series begins March 13th. The Classic French Film Festival celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s cinematic legacy. The featured films span the decades from the 1930s through the early 1990s, offering a comprehensive overview of French cinema. The fest is annually highlighted by significant restorations.

This year features recent restorations of eight works, including an extended director’s cut of Patrice Chéreau’s historical epic Queen Margot a New York-set film noir (Two Men In Manhattan) by crime-film maestro Jean-Pierre Melville, who also co-stars; a short feature (“A Day in the Country”) by Jean Renoir, on a double bill with the 2006 restoration of his masterpiece, The Rules Of The Game, and the
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Starmaker Allégret: From Gay Romance with 'Uncle' (and Nobel Winner) Gide to Simon's Movie Mentor

Marc Allégret: From André Gide lover to Simone Simon mentor (photo: Marc Allégret) (See previous post: "Simone Simon Remembered: Sex Kitten and Femme Fatale.") Simone Simon became a film star following the international critical and financial success of the 1934 romantic drama Lac aux Dames, directed by her self-appointed mentor – and alleged lover – Marc Allégret.[1] The son of an evangelical missionary, Marc Allégret (born on December 22, 1900, in Basel, Switzerland) was to have become a lawyer. At age 16, his life took a different path as a result of his romantic involvement – and elopement to London – with his mentor and later "adoptive uncle" André Gide (1947 Nobel Prize winner in Literature), more than 30 years his senior and married to Madeleine Rondeaux for more than two decades. In various forms – including a threesome with painter Théo Van Rysselberghe's daughter Elisabeth – the Allégret-Gide relationship remained steady until the late '20s and their trip to
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The Mystery Of Picasso Screens at The Classic French Film Festival This Friday

The Classic French Film Festival celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s cinematic legacy. The featured films span the decades from the 1920s through the 1980s (with a particular focus on filmmakers from the New Wave), offering a comprehensive overview of French cinema. The Mystery Of Picasso will screen as part of the festival at 7pm Friday, June 20th at the St. Louis Art Museum.

In 1955, Henri-Georges Clouzot, the acclaimed director of “The Wages of Fear” and “Diabolique,” joined forces with artist Pablo Picasso to make an entirely new kind of documentary, a film that could capture the moment and the mystery of creativity. Together, they devised an innovative technique: The filmmaker placed his camera behind a semi-transparent surface on which the artist drew with special inks that bled through. Clouzot thus captured a perfect reverse image of Picasso’s brushstrokes, and the movie screen itself became the artist’s canvas.
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Blu-ray Release: Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

Blu-ray Release Date: June 10, 2014

Price: Blu-ray $29.95

Studio: Twilight Time

Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

The 1957 adventure-filled romantic drama Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison starring Robert Mitchum (Night of the Hunter) and Deborah Kerr (Black Narcissus) comes to Blu-ray from Twilight Time.

Featuring a clever script by director John Huston (The African Queen) and screenwriting veteran John Lee Mahin, the movie stars Mitchum as a no-nonsense Marine and Kerr as a dedicated nun: a decidedly odd couple stranded on a South Pacific island overrun by hostile Japanese forces during World War II. Their struggle to survive and their growing friendship are beautifully captured by the camera of superb cinematographer Oswald Morris, and given further support by composer Georges Auric’s lovely score.

The Blu-ray of Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison contains the following features:

-Isolated Music & Effects Track

-Fox MovieTone News

-Original Theatrical Trailer

-Liner notes by Julie Kirgo
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Dead of Night

(Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer, 1945, Studiocanal, PG)

Portmanteau movies became an established form in 1916 when one of its greatest examples, Dw Griffith's Intolerance, interweaving four stories reaching from ancient Babylon to the early 20th century, was released. They've been appearing ever since, covering a variety of subjects (a shared author, a theme, a genre, a setting), the greatest number produced in the 1950s and 60s when it was a useful device for bringing international moviemakers together.

The greatest portmanteau film came from Ealing Studios and was a collaboration between four staff directors, one celebrated (the Brazilian-born Cavalcanti) and three soon to become well known. It took as its subject the British ghost story or tale of the supernatural, was written by a variety of hands, and went into production in that curious period between D-Day and the end of the last war, though there's no explicit reference to the war.
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The Innocents – review | Mark Kermode

A welcome re-release for Jack Clayton's chilling screen version of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw

The BFI's terrific gothic season continues with this brilliantly chilling 1961 adaptation of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. Deborah Kerr stars as the governess whose young charges vacillate between the angelic and the demonic – or is it all in her mind?

Oozing ambiguity, Jack Clayton's shimmering gem is a masterclass in suggestion, a flawless evocation of the uncanny which pits the subconscious against the supernatural to genuinely hair-raising effect.

Atmospherically shot in monochrome Cinemascope by Freddie Francis, co-scripted by Truman Capote, and blending Georges Auric's music with genuinely eerie ambient sound, this enduring gem places a cold hand on the back of your neck, and then whispers into your ear: "It was only the wind, my dear… "

Rating: 5/5

HorrorMark Kermode © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.
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31 Days of Horror: 100 Greatest Horror Films: Top 50

Every year, we here at Sound On Sight celebrate the month of October with 31 Days of Horror; and every year, I update the list of my favourite horror films ever made. Last year, I released a list that included 150 picks. This year, I’ll be upgrading the list, making minor alterations, changing the rankings, adding new entries, and possibly removing a few titles. I’ve also decided to publish each post backwards this time for one reason: the new additions appear lower on my list, whereas my top 50 haven’t changed much, except for maybe in ranking. Enjoy!


Special Mention:

Shock Corridor

Written and directed by Samuel Fuller

USA, 1963

Shock Corridor stars Peter Breck as Johnny Barrett, an ambitious reporter who wants to expose the killer at the local insane asylum. To solve the case, he must pretend to be insane so they have him committed. Once in the asylum,
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Remembering Mary Ure

Feature Aliya Whiteley 19 Aug 2013 - 07:32

We pay tribute to Mary Yre, the star of stage and big-screen classics including Look Back In Anger and Where Eagles Dare...

There was something remote about Mary Ure that came across on screen so clearly. She looked untouchable, distant; she had great poise and enormous eyes that always contained a hint of wariness. A theatre actress in the main, she made very few films, but she always brought deeper meaning to the movies she was in, from action thrillers to science fiction, social drama or literary adaptations.

Always the supporting actress, her quiet ability to wring emotion from few words added a huge amount to these films. It’s so sad that she left behind only a few cinematic performances when she died at a young age, but here are five of her very best roles, and a reminder of how talented she was.
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100 + Greatest Horror Movies (pt.6) 25-1

Throughout the month of October, Editor-in-Chief and resident Horror expert Ricky D, will be posting a list of his favorite Horror films of all time. The list will be posted in six parts. Click here to see every entry.

As with all lists, this is personal and nobody will agree with every choice – and if you do, that would be incredibly disturbing. It was almost impossible for me to rank them in order, but I tried and eventually gave up.


Special Mention:

Shock Corridor

Directed by Samuel Fuller

Written by Samuel Fuller

1963, USA

Shock Corridor stars Peter Breck as Johnny Barrett, an ambitious reporter who wants to expose the killer at the local insane asylum. In order to solve the case, he must pretend to be insane so they have him committed. Once in the asylum, Barrett sets to work, interrogating the other patients and keeping a close eye on the staff.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Greatest Horror Movies Ever Made Part 7: The 62 Greatest (# 31-1)

31 – Rosemary’s Baby

Directed by Roman Polanski

USA, 1968

Roman Polanski’s brilliant horror-thriller was nominated for two Oscars, winning Best Supporting Actress for Ruth Gordon. The director’s first American film, adapted from Ira Levin’s horror bestseller, is a spellbinding and twisted tale of Satanism and pregnancy. Supremely mounted, the film benefits from it’s strong atmosphere, apartment setting, eerie childlike score and polished production values by cinematographer William Fraker. The cast is brilliant, with Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes as the young couple playing opposite Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer, the elderly neighbors. There is ominous tension in the film from first frame to last – the climax makes for one of the greatest endings of all time. Rarely has a film displayed such an uncompromising portrait of betrayal as this one. Career or marriage – which would you choose?

30 – Eraserhead

Directed by David Lynch

USA, 1977

Filmed intermittently over the course of a five-year period,
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Greatest Horror Movies Ever Made Part 7: 50 Greatest Horror Films (# 15-1)

25 – Halloween

Directed by John Carpenter

1978 – Us

A historical milestone that single-handedly shaped and altered the future of the entire genre. This seminal horror flick actually gets better with age; it’s downright transcendent and holds up with determination as an effective thriller that will always stand head and shoulders above the hundreds of imitators to come. Halloween had one hell of an influence on the entire film industry. You have to admire how Carpenter avoids explicit onscreen violence, and achieves a considerable power almost entirely through visual means, using its widescreen frame, expert hand-held camerawork, and terrifying foreground and background imagery.

24 – Black Christmas

Directed by Bob Clark

1974 – Canada

We never did find out who Billy was. Maybe it’s for the best, since they never made any sequels to Bob Clark’s seminal slasher film, a film which predates Carpenter’s Halloween by four years. Whereas Texas Chainsaw Massacre, released the same year,
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Blu-Ray Review: Jean Cocteau’s ‘Orpheus’ Gets New Life on Criterion

Chicago – “Interpret as you wish,” invites narrator and filmmaker Jean Cocteau prior to his contemporary retelling of the Orpheus legend and the second installment of his Orphic Trilogy, which also includes 1930’s “The Blood of a Poet” and 1960’s “Testament of Orpheus.” Cocteau’s 1950 masterwork, simply titled “Orpheus,” is one of his most emotionally complex and deeply personal projects. It’s also a lot of fun.

Unlike other avant-garde filmmakers, Cocteau sports a immensely playful spirit that causes viewers to wholly embrace his onscreen abstractions rather than dissect them for their intended meaning. The titular protagonist in “Orpheus” is told by another character that the “dreamer must accept his dreams,” and Cocteau expects his audience to follow suit. This results in a picture of unforgettable images as whimsically absurd as they are dramatically resonant.

Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0

Jean Marais stars as Orpheus, the poet famous in Greek mythology for journeying into
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James Reviews Jules Dassin’s Rififi [Arrow Films Blu-ray]

Only a few days after he’s been released from prison, Tony Le Stephanois (Jean Servais) is reunited with his former partners in crime Jo (Carl Möhner) and Mario (Robert Manuel). They want him to do one more job at a Parisian jeweler’s shop, which if successful means they can retire. Tony declines to get involved again in the business. Tony meets up with his old girlfriend Mado (Marie Sabouret) who has been seeing a gangster named Pierre Grutter (Marcel Lupovici). Enraged by this relationship, Tony savagely beats Mado for being involved with Grutter.

Tony then agrees to do the job, but not because he wants the money. He wants to hit he jeweler’s safe instead, not the outside window. We are then introduced to Cesar (Perlo Vita, better known as the director Jules Dassin), a master safe cracker from Milan and a colleague of Mario’s. They then plan the heist meticulously,
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See also

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